Do you feel stuck when you don’t know what to do with angry feelings?

By Ann Weiser Cornell on April 26, 2017 in Blog, Tips

Focusing Tip #557

“I say ‘something in me feels angry at XYZ’ and then I immediately feel stuck.”

Suzanne wrote:

I’ve been dealing with a lot of anger lately, and seem to be stuck. I get to something like: “I’m sensing something in me that feels angry at XYZ.” And then I immediately feel stuck. The fact is, there is also something in me that doesn’t want to feel angry. And another something that tells me that I need to feel the anger. I’m having a difficult time discerning which part needs my attention. Any suggestions?

Dear Suzanne:

So what comes after “I’m sensing something in me that feels angry at ______”?


I suspect that what’s happening for you, that leaves you feeling stuck, is that you are thinking something like, “What do I do with that?”

That’s a pretty common reaction, I find. People have an emotion… an unpleasant one… and then they wonder what to do with it. That’s when the argument starts: “I need to feel it,” and “I don’t want to feel it,” on and on.

But what if we don’t have to do anything with it?

What if we just turn toward “something in me that feel angry at ____” with interested curiosity?

I’d be curious about what it is about ___ that gets it so angry. You might think you already know… but I assure you, there is more that you don’t know.

Anger is often connected to a sense of unfairness or injustice. Might this part of you be angry because something is or was unfair? Unjust? Or perhaps a boundary was violated? Perhaps a trust was breached?

Be the listener… listening to how things are from the point of view of that part. And don’t get caught in a discussion about action. Listening to what it wants to do (like punch someone) will not take you forward as much as listening to what gets it so angry… really.

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